Red Sox

Red Sox

The Red Sox were the best team in baseball all season, and they tore through the playoffs to the World Series. 

Yet while logical on paper, somehow this feels like one of the more surprising runs of this nearly two-decade-long era of Boston sports dominance. 

Usually, when we see a team this good or dominant, the surprise comes in the form of a loss, a la the 2007 Patriots. Yet this is the great team that we've all waited to see be not great. Four wins from a title, it still hasn't happened. 

Going into the regular season, there were questions of whether J.D. Martinez would be a star, whether the bullpen would be anything short of a heart attack and whether the Sox could outpace a Yankees team that added the reigning NL MVP after reaching the ALCS last season. 

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The answers proved to be yes, no and yes. When the trade deadline came and went without adding a key bullpen arm, the buildup to the postseason was littered with warranted conversation about how Dave Dombrowski would deserve the most blame once the Sox were eliminated. 

The Red Sox were a 108-win team with an unhealthy ace, a bunch of guys with bad postseason track records behind him and a very shaky bullpen. Even the most optimistic of fans couldn't have felt as good about this team as they did about past Red Sox title teams with fewer wins. 

 

Nobody saw Nathan Eovaldi being a postseason stud, or Alex Cora using Chris Sale out of the bullpen in Game 4 of the ALDS. The best offense in the league was expected to mash its way out of trouble, but not with Jackie Bradley Jr. as the guy driving in runs by the barrel-full. 

Then, to top it all off, you had David Price finally getting a postseason win as a starter, and earning it with six innings of no-run, nine-strikeout ball. 

Sure, there have been bullpen meltdowns. But the Sox haven't had to pay nearly the price one would expect them to, outside of that horrid ninth inning of Game 1 of the ALCS. They escaped a bullpen implosion in Game 1 of the ALDS with a win, and for all of Craig Kimbrel's rockiness (five earned runs in 6 1/3 innings), he's closed out all five of his outings with a save. 

This was supposed to be a team that would need to do what it did well very well in order to have success against a team like the Astros. Instead, they continued to hit while once-perceived question marks came up with big performances. 

Now, they're in the World Series and well-equipped to win it all. Sale is rested. Price should be confident. The offense is hot. All the stars are aligning for these seemingly 108-win underdogs to end up being a team that just never saw its shortcomings catch up to them. 

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